I have been playing chess again for two or three months, after a period of about twenty years of interruption. In a game against a human adversary, I noticed that my opponent was taking the time to build a large wall of pawns similar to the following picture, while I was on my side playing with stronger pieces.

8/8/8/8/P1P1P1P1/1P1P1P1P/8/8 w KQkq - 0 1

I found quite difficult to play aggressively against such a wall. Recently I tried the same and found this strategy rather efficient (of course the wall is never perfect but the picture gives the idea).

I would like to know a little more about this style of playing. Does it have a name? Is it known to be efficient?

  • 2
    Reminds me a bit of the stonewall formation. – itub Jul 29 '19 at 16:28
  • 4
    This resembles checkers more than chess. For starters, white has dark-square weaknesses in that position but to know if indeed those are weaknesses we should also know which pieces are left on the board and which opening let to such kind of position. – Phemelo Khetho Jul 29 '19 at 20:56
  • 1
    This kind of setup is kinda frequent at the beginner level, and learning how to "refute" it is an essential part of one's progress in chess. – Annatar Jul 30 '19 at 8:54
  • No, it has no name and is not efficient. It's just weak beginner play. – adedqwd Oct 4 '19 at 18:40

I would say that type of formation leaves a lot of weak squares, as enemy pieces can occupy pretty much any dark square they want (mainly b4, d4, f4, h4) and start an attack from there with help from the pawns. These pieces will never ever be kicked away. White's light squared-bishop will also suffer because he has nowhere to go, so, for that strategy to be effective:

  • White needs to have traded his light-squared bishop beforehand, or else pretty much any bishop vs knight endgame will be lost.
  • White must keep his dark-squared bishop at all cost, or else Black's bishop could be very harmful
  • White needs to know what to do about enemy knights on f4 and d4.
  • Pawn breakthroughs near White's king must somehow be prevented (for example, if Black castles in the kingside, ...h7-h5 must be somehow prevented)

In short, I don't like that kind of "wall" at all. And we haven't even talked about the at least eight moves it requires to build it, in which you can develop pretty much all of your pieces. Sometimes a c3-d4-e3-f4 formation is built (Stonewall Dutch), but this is only four moves and only leaves one weak square (e4) rather than four. So, occupy the dark squares, open a file and checkmate your opponent! If you want, post an example game where you've struggled against the "wall", and we can see what else could have being played

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